Bahamas Sandals resort deaths: Police name Tennessee and Florida guests found dead


A pathologist is due to perform autopsies on Monday, Royal Bahamas Police Commissioner Paul Rolle said. No foul play is suspected in Friday’s deaths, Bahamas Acting Prime Minister Chester Cooper said.

Authorities are working on plans to repatriate the bodies of the deceased, and arrangements have been made to return their belongings to their representatives in the United States, Rolle said.

Medical examiners are collecting samples from deceased people and a Philadelphia lab is helping with toxicology exams, Rolle said. The lab expects the results to be ready within seven days, he said. Scientists also took samples from the victims’ rooms to check for contaminants, he said.

Officials declined to say whether contaminants have been found in samples so far. Pathologists will provide an official report once testing is complete, Rolle said.

Michael Phillips, 68, and his wife Robbie Phillips, 65, of Tennessee, were pronounced dead at the hotel on Friday, as was Vincent Paul Chiarella, 64, of Florida, who was found unconscious in a separate room, announced the police.

A fourth American, Chiarella’s 65-year-old wife, Donnis Chiarella, was found with her husband. She was airlifted to a hospital in the capital of the Bahamas before being transferred to Kendall Hospital in Miamiwhere she is in fair condition, said Jennifer Guerrieri, spokeswoman for the East Florida division of Hospital Corporation of America.
Their son, Austin Chiarella, told ABC News her mother “woke up and my father was lying on the floor, and she couldn’t move. Her legs and arms were swollen and she couldn’t move and she screamed for someone to come in the door. “

Donnis Chiarella told her son she fell ill on Thursday but after being released from a clinic she “thought she was fine,” according to ABC.

He said he was heartbroken over his father’s death. “My dad was everything to me,” he told ABC.

CNN’s efforts to reach Austin Chiarella were unsuccessful.

The Phillips’ daughter, Caroline Phillips Fortenberry, sent a statement to CNN on Monday.

“Our hearts are grieving and broken but full of hope,” she wrote. “We know that our Mom and Dad experience a fullness of joy in the presence of our Heavenly Father. We already miss them terribly. Our parents left a legacy of faith in Jesus and generously loved their family and friends.”

The victims went to the doctor the day before

All four victims sought medical attention before being found in their rooms, the police commissioner said. They had eaten at different restaurants, he added.

“They were seen by the doctor the night before, and that was around 11 p.m., and they were discovered the next morning. So we have the timeline…between 11 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.,” Rolle said. .

The three deaths at the Sandals Emerald Bay resort in Great Exuma have also been confirmed by Sandals spokesperson Stacy Royal and the US State Department.

“We are closely following local authorities’ investigation into the cause of death. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance,” the State Department said in a press release. “Out of respect for the families’ privacy, we have nothing further to add at this time.”

Guests found unresponsive in resort villas

Resort staff alerted police shortly after 9 a.m. Friday that an unconscious man had been found in a villa, police said. En route to the scene, police were informed that another man and another woman had been found unresponsive in another villa, the statement said.

Police found a “Caucasian male lying unresponsively on the floor” in the first villa with no signs of trauma. A doctor pronounced him dead, police said. The woman who was hospitalized was found with him, Rolle said on Saturday.

In the second villa, they found a second man “slumped against a wall in a bathroom, unresponsive”, and the woman was “found in a bedroom on a bed”, the statement said.

“Both showed signs of convulsing,” the statement read. Neither showed signs of trauma. They were also pronounced dead by a doctor.

Cooper on Friday asked the nation’s health and welfare minister to lead a delegation of health, environment and public works officials to the Exuma district. The Department of Environmental Health Services remained at the scene Monday, Rolle said.

“Nothing is more important to Sandals Resorts than the safety of our guests,” the resort said in a statement, adding that it was actively working to “support both the investigation as well as the families of guests across the board.” possible ways”.

Sandals cannot release any other information “out of respect for the privacy of our customers,” he said.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Donnis Chiarella’s condition changed when she was transferred to Kendall Hospital. It remains in fair condition.

CNN’s Sara Smart, Caroll Alvarado, Carlos Suarez, Eliott C. McLaughlin, Steve Almasy, Hira Humayun, Jason Hanna, Rebekah Riess, Sarah Jorgensen and Susannah Cullinane contributed to this report.

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